Monday, September 9, 2013

My 400th post and if you're wrestling over whether to quit

I’ve often said that if God calls us to something, we don’t get to quit just because it’s hard or the results aren’t what we hoped they’d be.

And yet, in the past few weeks and months, I’ve wrestled with continuing this blog. It’s been a serious time of reevaluation.

 Is it effective? Is it meaningful? These are the hard questions I’ve asked myself.

Three years ago, I felt God calling me to start it. The excitement of something new and the challenge to generate a post every few days propelled me forward. But the excitement waned a bit after years of labor and almost 400 posts. Each post takes hours and hours, sometimes days.

I’m always working on a novel manuscript or a screenplay as I’m simultaneously trying to come up with my next blog post. At times, I felt I’d spent my last idea.

I have a folder I keep near me, even when I travel to remind myself of why I do what I do. In it, I’ve written the scriptures, and dreams, and all that I believe God has spoken to my heart about this writing journey. When I start to doubt, I take it out, and reread, and as the early Christians did, I rehearse the things that God has done. As I’ve written introductions to my top twenty posts, I’ve done a little bit of rehearsing, too. I remember why I wrote what I did.  I’ve reflected on your comments and Facebook postings.

Many years ago, God gave me the image of a ship as a metaphor for this writing journey. Though I haven’t felt good enough, or experienced enough, or smart enough, nevertheless, God has called me to board the ship.  In my folder is also a picture of a white ocean liner from a cruise advertisement which came in the mail just after God gave me the ship image.

And so, as best I could, I have tried to get on board.

As I’ve struggled, because of a link at Holy Experience, I came across a post by Sharon Jaynes, “When you hit a wall of rejection.” She writes about how an illness kept her from boarding a ship to the Greek Isles for a long planned vacation, and how after being told, “You are not fit to sail,” she had to decide whether to take a very long, circuitous and difficult route to get to another port,  and perhaps board the ship.

She likens it to the other kinds of ships we might be seemingly forbidden to board.
 “You might even stand on the dock of your precisely prepared hopes and dreams and watch as your friends get on the ship without you.

And if that happens, you will have a choice. You can give up and go home. Or you can do what you need to do to get on board. You can take a cab, take a plane, take a bus, take a ferry, and do whatever you need to do to get on the ship God has sitting in the dock for you.

Pressing on might seem a bit crazy. Persevering may bring unplanned expenses.  Pushing forward could try your stamina beyond what you thought possible to endure. But the alternative is to go home and cozy up with the remote while others sail away without you.

I don’t know what your ship is today. Perhaps it is getting published. Perhaps it is starting a business. Perhaps it is starting a ministry. Perhaps it is hosting a blog.  But chances are somewhere along the way, someone whose opinion matters, will tell you to ‘go home’ – that you’re ‘not fit to sail.’ And you’ll have to decide.”

Yes, we all have to decide about pressing on. Writing this blog is only one part of the big picture of writing. And if I’m honest, my struggle is not just about writing here but about writing in general. Oh, I’ll always write, but continuing to send out new manuscripts trying to get another book in print (as I’m about to ask my agent to do, again) and constantly risking rejection is tiring.

Sharon Jaynes’ post was a specific answer to prayer. She has helped me push past the obstacles, to not curl up with the remote, but continue to press on towards boarding that ship. Thank you, Sharon, for not giving up, too.

When I first started, I told the Lord that I would write for the one or two—that would be enough. And so, I’m back to that. Back to writing for you, whoever you may be. And if you’re reading here, you’re probably suffering in some way, because I often write about wringing joy out of the heartaches of life—about reframing our difficulties.

Joel Osteen writes in I Declare, “Get your fire back . . . Create a fresh new vision for your life.”

So, today, in this rambling 400th post, I’m gearing up for the future and whatever God has. I spent several days developing some new blog banners, one of which I’ve posted recently on my site.
I’m one of the most technologically challenged people you may know, so I’m especially thankful I was able to put the banner together. Even my son was impressed. I couldn’t help but remind him that I started with a typewriter.

As I finish up this post, I’m looking at that blog banner above and realizing the picture on the left with me and my husband was made on a dock at Amelia Island in front of dozens of boats. I didn’t select it for that reason; in fact I tried several options before deciding on that photo.  I’m thinking God wanted it up there to remind me to continue to launch out with Him.

How about you? Are you trying to board your ship, too?

To read Sharon Jaynes’ post in its entirety, click here.
"Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward--to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back (Philippians 3:13-14 The Message).
Back here on Thursday.




Julie Garmon said...

Love your banner and your post!!! Thanks for the encouragement.

I understand.


Beverly Varnado said...

Julie, you're an inspiration to many including me. Thanks for your understanding. I love you back. Bev

pvmanns said...

As one who hasn't posted in my blog for some time, I find your honest reflections inspiring. I've been thinking about giving up on my blog, which has been a thought for quite some time.
I am now willing to pray for God's direction in the matter. I'm writing my 1st novel, teaching children's church, and attending to other matters. If God desires I write for an audience of one, then so be it. I want to please Him. Father, not my will, but Thine be done. Lead me in your way everlasting.

Beverly Varnado said...

Patricia, your honest heart touches me so. I'm remembering something Elizabeth Sherrill said and that is we should always write for one person. It's sometimes hard to go back after being away, but I know you'll hear from the Lord on this. So glad we ran into each other at EMACW. Many blessings to you, Bev

Unknown said...

Beverly, over the last year after I discovered your blog from the Upper Room, I have journeyed with you from the beginning of your 400 posts. You have been a blessing each day and I've found we have so much in common. Our love for animals and fascination with birds and flowers. Your photographs are as inspiring as your words. Thanks for sharing and please don't stop! You see I've got two years of posts and I'll be caught up ;)

Unknown said...

Actually three years but as you can tell I'm not a math major 😜

Beverly Varnado said...

Mary, I am so humbled that you take the time to navigate through hundreds of posts. You are a blessing and encouragement to me in ways you cannot know. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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